Over the last two years, Darren Waller has become one of the most dynamic tight ends in the league.
Part of why he’s been successful both as a receiver and in-line as a blocker has been those he’s played alongside on the club’s offensive line.
Las Vegas made some big changes to its five up front this offseason, trading center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson, and right tackle Trent Brown. The Raiders now have Andre James at center, Denzelle Good or John Simpson at right guard, and first-round pick Alex Leatherwood at right tackle entering training camp this week. Left tackle Kolton Miller and left guard Richie Incognito return in their same positions.
During a Monday appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Waller was looking forward to playing alongside the new starters.
“Change is a part of every single year in the NFL. No team looks exactly the same going from year to year,” Waller said. “So, we’ve got some guys stepping in there. I’ve been impressed with Andre James at center so far, just his mental preparation and how he’s already on top of calls and checks and [on] the same page with Derek [Carr]. Alex Leatherwood is a guy — you can tell he’s fully locked in and is taking this very seriously. And I’m excited to see how he builds upon the foundation that the already has.
“And just having guys like Richie [Ingocnito] in there and Denzelle Good on the interior helping guys like John Simpson continue to develop on our offensive line is going to do great things and just continue to get better under [OL] coach [Tom] Cable’s leadership.”
Las Vegas’ offense was not the team’s biggest issue last year, as the club finished 8-8. But after ending 2020 No. 8 in yards and No. 10 in points, the line’s success or failure will be a key part of determining whether the Raiders have a top-10 offense once again.